Stop! Hammer Time…
Two titles dominated the proceedings this week, with the double whammy of The Woman In Black and Carnage appearing in most newspapers DVD review columns, as our weekly round up of home entertainment coverage shows. The Woman In Black cast its spooky shadow over most of the DVD and Blu-ray coverage, and was almost universally praised, although Carnage seemed to divide opinion more. Also scoring an impressive amount of coverage was Safe House.
The week in reviews begins, as ever, on a Thursday with the Metro’s double page of coverage under its Home Cinema banner. Its lead choice was, as is often the case, the previous week’s most written about title, which, in this case, is The Muppets (Disney, which it lovingly concluded was: “in a time of ever deepening recession and cold, wet summertime, this warms like a snugly blanket of pure sunshine”. Nothing else earned more than three stars, with Universal’s Safe House (“forgettably entertaining”) and Warner’s brace of Extremely And Incredibly Close (“Extremely Cutesy And Incredibly Annoying”) and “Clint Eastwood’s earnestly turgid biopic” J Edgar (Warner) faring worse than Man On A Ledge (eOne) and The Woman In The Fifth (Artificial Eye). In terms of its regular feature slots, the Lost Treasure was Wallander: Original Films 1-6 (Arrow), Five Films were chosen by Jerry Rothwell, director of Town Of Runners (Dogwoof), he plumped for Hidden, DIG!, Fargo, Lilya4Ever and The Thin Blue Line, incidentally, while its Five Questions were answered by Denzel Washington tying in with the release of Safe House.
On to Friday, our next stop being another metropolitan free newspaper, although the Evening Standard is resolutely London and its suburbs. This week it covered The Woman In Black (Momentum), followed by Carnage (Studiocanal) and mention made of its “incendiary acting”, Safe House (“overcooked ending aside, it’s classy, urgent stuff”), Town Of Runners (Dogwoof) and “a pungent, ghastly reminder of the way we were” in Roll Out The Barrel (BFI).
In The Sun’s Something For The Weekend column it went from the sublime to the ridiculous, with The Muppets scoring maximum marks (“dust off your Kermit puppet, light the lights and let out a triumphant hoot of mahna mahna…” it said) and Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close doing incredibly badly (“extremely trite and incredibly irritating”), with J Edgar somewhere between the two (“worth investigating, but this case is a tough nut to crack”).
The Daily Star led with The Woman In Black, giving away copies of the film and assorted merchandise, including T-shirts and mugs, there was also a review of the film (“Hammer Horror rises again”), with further reviews for Carnage (Studiocanal) Things To Come (Network) and Warner’s repackaged pairing of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight (“a superb double bill”).
Over in The Ticket, the Daily Mirror’s Friday entertainment pullout, the DVD Of The Week was The Woman In Black (“frightening and moody”). Also covered were Town Of Runners (|”positively inspirational”), Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie (Mediumrare), Red Dog (G2), Hunky Dory (eOne) and, its worst reviewed films, Carnage (somewhat surprisingly, as this was its worst notice of the weekend) and The Amityville Haunting, from Revolver, described as “an Amityville horror”. This, incidentally, was all above an ad for The Muppets, offering an extra pound off the film in Sainsbury’s, and, above the tagline of Kerm-On England, the frog star of the show with his face painted with the cross of St George.
The Daily Express covered the “haunting drama” Odd Man Out (Network), praised the “pitch perfect performances” of Carnage and further reviewed The Woman In Black. Over in the Daily Mail, its reviews followed its recent predilection for covering titles a few weeks after they’re released, by reviewing Like Crazy (Paramount).
The Independent’s i newspaper trailed its Saturday coverage (where it reviews the same titles and more), by reviewing Carnage and The Woman In Black.
In The Guardian its Your Next Box Set feature was taken up by Braquo (Arrow), recommending it with the pay-off line: “Full of great storytelling, as well as knives to faces, torture, explosions, defenestrations and wanton sprayings with automatic weapons, Braquo is lean, tense and highly addictive.”
Saturday now, and the two regular mentions for DVD releases in the television supplements in the tabloids come via the Daily Mirror’s We Love TV (BBC Worldwide’s Davina McCall’s Davina Body Buff was this week’s giveaway) and the Daily Mail’s Weekend (Hustle Series 8 from Warner).
Moving up to the quality press, and, as noted last week, the Daily Telegraph seems to have shelved its review coverage, again dropping them this week. But elsewhere it was just as fruitful.
Carnage got a four star review in the Financial Times, with the sign off that it’s a “fast-paced and thoroughly enjoyable 79 minutes”. Worthy of similar praise was BFI’s Belly Of An Architect (“a visual treat… intellectually and emotionally satisfying”), while Fire In Babylon (Revolver) got maximum marks, reviewed in its Tour Edition (“This documentary extends beyond a boundary – sadly not for a full five days”). Also reviewed was J Edgar.
The Times’ Review section saw Carnage and The Woman In Black (“so surprisingly effective you may have to watch through your fingers”) sharing the spoils, alongside Network’s Things To Come, Man On A Ledge and a brace of old horrors from Studiocanal (The Plague Of Zombies and The Reptile).
On to The Independent’s Radar entertainment magazine where reviews ranged from five stars (Universal’s David Lynch Collection) and a mere one (for a very “dismal” Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close, with The Woman In Black, Carnage and J Edgar.
Eschewing the obvious route, The Guardian’s Guide chose to lead instead with The Reptile and The Plague Of The Zombies, two separate but closely linked Hammer titles released by Studiocanal (“There’s a classy confidence to Hammer films and their hard-working horror seems almost wholesome today”), with mentions for the week’s other biggies, Carnage and The Woman In Black, as well as Braquo Season 2 (Arrow) and Revolution (BFI), which, it wittily noted, was “Still the only pairing of Al Pacino and EastEnders’ Sid Owen”. Also in The Guide, the availability on Netflix of Justified was flagged in its relatively recent Planner page, while Olivia Wilde and Sam Worthington were both interviewed in its Family section, plugging their respective releases, House (Universal Playback) for the former, albeit plugging an October release, and Man On A Ledge for the latter.
Sunday now, and The People had a mention and a competition for the latest release of Lewis (ITV Studios Home Entertainment) and Safe House (Universal) was on its We’re Loving entertainment page. .
The Daily Star Sunday had slightly truncated coverage, shrinking down from its usual four or five to just two, Carnage and The Woman In Black.
Those two familiar faces didn’t appear in the Sunday Mirror, however, the paper preferring the unlikely choice of One For The Money (EV) and Covert Affairs: Season One (Universal Playback).
The Sunday edition of The Sun rarely mentions DVD, mostly in its Fabulous magazine; the fact that titles are mentioned so little makes it all the more welcome when they do merit inclusion and this week Carnage bucked the trend and was featured in its Fabulist, alongside theatrical and book releases.
The Mail On Sunday’s Live magazine featured a clutch of DVD titles in its This Week’s Entertainment Releases top 10, taking in The Woman In Black, Safe House and The Diamond Jubilee (BBC Worldwide).
The Sunday Telegraph’s Seven magazine often goes against the grain, both in the films it selects to cover and also in the marks it dishes out, often damning titles that have won praise elsewhere. This week Carnage was an exception, saying it was “equally brilliant” to the stage play on which it was based, although it did give J Edgar one of its best reviews, praising Leonardo DiCaprio’s “star performance” and Naomi Watt’s “distinguished turn”. Also covered was Despair (Park Circus).
The Independent On Sunday covered Safe House and Carnage.
Both those two appeared in Mark Kermode’s DVD column in The Guardian. Neither won plaudits, the former “creaks and groans and moans its way around the screen in a manner that is every bit as annoying as the characters it portrays”, while in the case of the latter “you soon find yourself wondering why director Daniel Espinosa bothered to rope in such accomplished actors only to throw things at them and watch them fall out of windows for two hours”. He saved the most vitriol for House Of Tolerance (Universal), saying “if you thought the orgy scene from Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut was toe-curling, then be assured this is worse and has fewer jokes”. He did, however, shake off his cynicism to praise The Woman In Black, which offers “impressively shivershome results”.
We’ll end with a couple of magazines and our weekly look at, firstly the Radio Times, which praised Carnage to the hilt (“short, sharp and very funny… and shows Polanski at the peak of his powers”), Woman In Black, Safe House and, as its TV choice, Dexter Season 6 (Paramount).
Time Out covered Three Melodramas By Ozu (BFI) as its DVD Of The Week, with further reviews for The Woman In Black, Belly Of An Architect (BFI), Things To Come and, as its Blu-ray Revivals, This Happy Breed (Network) and A Bronx Tale (Studiocanal).Tags: PR, review
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